PG&E reduces scope of potential power outages

Pacific Gas and Electric on Wednesday reduced the anticipated scope of power shutoffs as a forecasted wind event weakened for some areas.

In the latest update from PG&E on the possible outages, the utility said it may cut power to 16,000 customers in 12 counties across Northern California, down from the initial 26,000 customers it had warned.

Dry offshore winds are forecast to return to the region this week combined with extreme drought conditions and dry vegetation, which raises concerns over wildfires sparking.

The potential Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) could now affect targeted areas of 12 counties in Northern and Central California, including three Bay Area counties: Napa, Solano, and Sonoma.

"The sole purpose of a PSPS is to prevent debris, tree branches or trees or anything like that from coming into contact with energized power lines," said Deanna Contreras, PG&E's spokesperson.

PG&E said the strong winds are expected to hit in the early morning hours Thursday. It will be the second such wind event this week.

"We’ve had two separate wind events that our meteorologists have been tracking pretty much back to back," said Contreras. "When we anticipate these sustained winds, these wind gusts, coupled with the drought that we’ve been in, the dry fuel that we’ve been seeing, these are the times where we are looking at shutting off the power for safety." 

SEE ALSOHigh fire danger means more Northern California power shutoffs

SEE ALSOEntire Bay Area on alert as high winds and red flag advisory continues

On Monday, the conditions prompted PG&E to shut off power to about 24,000 customers in parts of 23 counties. The following day the utility continued to inspect lines that were de-energized and was able to restore power to all customers by Tuesday night.

Residents can look up their addresses online to get updated information on whether their location might be affected by the potential safety shutoff by clicking here.

The potentially affected PSPS customers by county: 

  • Butte County: 938 customers
  • Colusa County: 553 customers
  • Glenn County: 376 customers
  • Kern County: 655 customers
  • Lake County: 1696 customers
  • Napa County: 3317 customers 
  • Plumas County: 409 customers
  • Shasta County: 4768 customers
  • Solano County: 1355 customers 
  • Sonoma County: 144 customers 
  • Tehama County: 1228 customers
  • Yolo County: 405 customers

But this doesn't mean these are the only areas in danger of seeing fires start from these high winds. Most of the Bay Area will see more gusty winds this week.